EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 24, 2012

Two more charged in murder

Killing was retribution for robbery, police say

By Jill Harmacinski jharmacinski@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — LAWRENCE — Two people are already accused of “delivering” Martin Angelone Butt, 27, to his death on Sept. 9. Yesterday, two more were charged with the actual murder of the Lowell man at Union and Brook streets as retribution for a previous heroin robbery.

Jose “Junior” Rivera, 32, of 176 Farnham St., Lawrence and Albert “Gordo” Vasquez, 18, of 22 Camden St., Methuen were held without bail after their arraignments on murder charges in Lawrence District Court.

The two allegedly murdered Butt that afternoon because he stole $1,500 worth of heroin from Rivera on Labor Day weekend, according to report by Trooper Joshua Ulrich.

Butt’s murder was the first and only homicide so far in Lawrence in 2012.

Enraged over the robbery, Rivera said “that Marty kid’s (expletive) dead,” according to Ulrich’s report, filed with court papers yesterday.

Shot in the head and chest, Butt was pronounced dead at Lawrence General Hospital less than an hour after police found him in a pool of blood near 121 Union St. that Sunday.

A knife and an 8mm blank firing pistol were found next to Butt’s body. A hypodermic syringe was later found in his pants pocket, according to a police report.

Immediately after his murder, Stephanie Jo Coleman, 22, and Christopher Ansara, 27, both of 96 Ashland Ave., Methuen were charged with delivering Butt to his murder in exchange for four bags of heroin. Charged with accessories before the fact of murder, they were both held on $25,000 cash bail.

Coleman and Ansara allegedly told police they arranged the meeting between Butt and Rivera. After he was murdered, they were given four bags of heroin. They used some and hid the rest in a cabinet in Ansara’s room, police said.

Early yesterday morning, with help from Lawrence and Methuen police, state troopers arrested Rivera and Vasquez at their homes.

Informants told troopers in the days after the murder, Rivera and Vasquez spoke of killing Butt. Rivera said he started to beat up Butt that day and when he tried to grab for the pistol in his waistband, Vasquez “produced a pistol of his own and shot (Butt),” Ulrich wrote.

Also, after the murder, Rivera and “his employees changed phones and phone numbers,” and he also stopped driving a red pickup seen the day of the murder, Ulrich wrote.

After the murder, as police investigated, Vasquez allegedly said he “was scared for a few days, but they have nothing because they would have caught on to us already.”

Also, according to informants, he also said Rivera punched Butt and then he shot him, according to Ulrich’s report.

Rivera and Vasquez are due back in court on Nov. 16 for a probable cause hearing.

Both were arrested yesterday after an intensive investigation by state troopers assigned to District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office and Lawrence police. Troopers the STOP team, crime scene services, drug task force and canine units, along with Methuen and Lawrence police and federal drug agents assisted with the arrests.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.